Move Over, Bessie! This is the BLOODY Barn!

Published February 26, 2015 by biggayhorrorfan

barn
I grew up in the country, so I know the wickedness of barns – kicking horses, smelly cows, haylofts you can’t escape from once you’ve climbed into them…

Now, the brilliant Nevermore Productions takes that terror and multiplies it, slasher-style, with their juicy looking throwback titled, naturally, The Barn!

They’ve just released their first official trailer for the piece:

…and you can follow all of this project’s bloody straw bound magic at:

http://www.facebook.com/TheBarnmovie and

http://www.nevermoreproductionfilms.com, as well.

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

http://www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

Review: Strangers in the Night (1944)

Published February 25, 2015 by biggayhorrorfan

strangers in the night cover
While the 30s and 40s were dominated by the villainous portrayals of Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, Lon Chaney, Jr., Basil Rathbone, John Carradine, Lionel Atwill and others, occasionally a strong female antagonist would peek out from behind the blood stained curtains. While Dracula’s Daughter (1936) and Captive Wild Woman (1944) are prime examples of this, Republic Pictures’ little known Strangers in the Night (1944), released on Blu-Ray by Olive Films in 2013, features both a very strong female lead and a truly disturbing dowager femme at the heart of this shadowy production’s mysterious and deadly doings.

Sgt. Johnny Meadows, an injured marine, travels to a small seaside town to meet his female pen pal. Though they have never met, the two have fallen in love and are destined to marry. Of course, Johnny happens to encounter Leslie, the town’s beautiful young doctor, on the train ride in and his attraction to her, coupled with the fact that his never seen sweetheart is mysteriously missing, soon has him switching his affections. Of course, Hilda, his pen pal’s mother, who keeps on insisting her daughter will arrive shortly, is not too happy with this. Seemingly possessed by the enormous living room portrait of her daughter, Hilda eventually succumbs to her darker impulses and it seems, no one, not even her devoted companion Ivy, will escape from her homicidal wraith.

Thimig, Grey and Barrett.

Thimig, Grey and Barrett.


As this film whispers with shades of such classics as Rebecca (1940) and Laura (1944), director Anthony Mann and cinematographer Reggie Lanning nicely fill it with moody noir lighting and establish Hilda’s cliff top mansion as a haunting presence unto itself. Their work is truly exemplified, though, by the fine portrayals of Virginia Grey, as Leslie, and Helen Thimig, who truly radiates with a glowering sense of madness as Hilda. With simple majesty, Thimig makes this proud woman, crippled both emotionally and physically, one of the most intense presences of those early exploitation years.

Granted, the mystery surrounding Hilda’s daughter can only be resolved in a number of ways, yet the trio of writers (Philip MacDonald, Bryant Ford, Paul Gangelin) do surprise those expecting a more deadly offering with their resolution. They, nicely, also give Grey’s Leslie plenty to do. She is both humble, recognizing that her position is rare for the time, and determined in her vocation. While annoyed with Hilda’s interference, she is also exceedingly kind. Grey, brightly, handles all these facets and is particularly poignant when discovering that Johnny is, initially, claimed by another.

The lovely Grey, best known to terror freaks for her role opposite cult icon Rondo Hatton in House of Horrors, also, appeared in numerous other cult titles such as Who Killed Doc Robbin and Unknown Island. But, Strangers in the Night, also, contains an interesting, round-about connection to horror via the presence of Edith Barrett. Barrett, who brings a leveled humor and hesitancy to the nervous Ivy, was the first wife of the legendary Vincent Price. According to published reports, in real life, Barrett, an esteemed stage actress, was actually a combination of the jittery Ivy and the deluded Hilda, but here she is quietly luminous, rivaling the performances of Grey and Thimig for attention.

You can find more about the unique offerings from Olive Films at http://www.olivefilms.com and http://www.facebook.com/olivefilms.

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

http://www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

The Destruction of Princess Tilde!

Published February 23, 2015 by biggayhorrorfan

Princess Tilde defying Valentine.

Princess Tilde defying Valentine.


Someone left this cake out in the rain!

Filled with sophisticated, comic style mayhem that is piloted by a handsome, plucky hero (Taron Egerton’s Eggsy), who, in turn, is buoyed up by such distinguished talents as Colin Firth, Michael Caine, Samuel J. Jackson and Mark Hamill as a multitude of engaging mentor types and villains, Kingsman: The Secret Service is loads of glorious fun.

My one issue with the film, besides some truly obvious head bursting moments of CGI action, is the ultimate treatment of Princess Tilde, one of the movie’s strongest female characters, portrayed with quirky resolve by Hanna Alström.

Tilde is one of the few fully featured, distinguished characters who actually rejects the devious plan of the primary villain, Valentine (Jackson), and winds up imprisoned in his underground bunker. Spunky and willful to Valentine’s every overture, she is a steely example of a femme in an action movie.

Yet, co-writers Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn (who based their script on the comic book The Secret Service created by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons) betray this positivity by turning her into a sexual joke by the film’s closing. Upon finally meeting Eggsy, who promises to defeat Valentine, Tilde spontaneously offers up an outrageous sexual favor should he succeed.

This suggestion is so damaging, ultimately, because it is so left field for the defiant princess. Development is, obviously, important for a character and if even, momentarily, Tilde had revealed some kind of amorous side previously, this denouement may have worked. Even more importantly, it is, also, out of context for the film, itself. While there are plenty of spy antics, exaggerated feats of violence and explorations of the darker side of the street thug lifestyle detailed in the film, there is little to no sexuality offered up, making Tilde’s comment stand out all the more.

That our last image of the character is one of her rolling over to, luxuriously, fulfill her promise is, also, unfortunate. Granted, anytime a woman in film (or life, for that matter) expresses a powerful sexuality outside of the vanilla zone is definitely important. Yet, the effect, here, is that moment is all most movie goers will remember about Princess Tilde.

Surely meant as a play on the excessive sheet turning of the Bond films, this issue could have been saved if we saw Tilde reversing the tables on Eggsy by throwing him on his backside to, ultimately, show him what she really meant by “do it in the asshole”.

Sadly, this is not to be.

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

http://www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

Music to Make Horror Movies By: Sandie Shaw

Published February 22, 2015 by biggayhorrorfan

sandie
How about a 60s anthem about romantic disappointment…with a possible sinister edge?

Sandie Shaw’s perky Girl Don’t Come gave a feminist ringtone to the being stood-up quandary, but looking at the lyrics through the eyes of an Alfred Hitchcock or a David Fincher gives this wistful tune a possibly dangerous connotation. Could the reason that the woman in question didn’t show be a bit darker than the simple whiff of whimsy implied?

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

http://www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

Astro Radio Z Presents “Why Exploitation?”

Published February 20, 2015 by biggayhorrorfan

flavia
You’ve been warned! This is where it gets real!

Ever since Sister Theresa, the principal at the Catholic high school I attended, tried to cover up the fact that one of the visiting faculty tried to force me into becoming his personal mattress slave, I’ve taken a voracious liking to films in which nuns do incorrigible things! While vicarious revenge is thrilling, I, also, feel that those sleazy celluloid morsels known as nunsploitation films serve as a very potent look at the disfranchisement of women in society and how their sexuality is used to bind and entrap them.

Thus, I was pleased as punch to join host Derrick Carey and crew (Kate Owens, Seth Poulin, Andrew Shearer and Scott Davis) on a recent episode of superlative podcast Astro Radio Z to talk about Flavia, The Heretic. This film is full of all sorts of Euro-madness, but at its heart, beats a true message about the treatment of women in society.

Amidst the chat about such titles as Fight for Your Life, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookersand Massacre in a Women’s Prison, we also talk about what exploitation means to us and why we love these films so much. The revelations may just surprise you. So, what are you waiting for? Get downloading now!

https://astroradiozpodcast.wordpress.com/2015/02/13/episode-28-why-exploitation/

And when you’re through, be sure to check out some of the other work that these glorious participants do:

HOLE IN THE WALL – https://www.facebook.com/GORYHOLE

It’s Only a Movie Blog – http://www.itsonlyamovieblog.com

Celluloid Terror – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Celluloid-Terror

Movieocrity – http://www.movieocrity.com

Gonzoriffic – https://www.facebook.com/gonzorifficfilms

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan

http://www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

Book Review: Town & Train

Published February 17, 2015 by biggayhorrorfan

town and train
When I was a kid, I loved Liza Minnelli, Marilyn Monroe, soap operas and horror films. Let’s just say that I didn’t fit in the small farm town of 600 that I grew up in…and all I dreamed of, at the time, was escape. Therefore, I can definitely relate to the beating pulse behind Town & Train, James K. Moran’s debut novel.

Taking place in a small, financially strapped Canadian town in the early 90s, Moran captures the wanderlust of both his teen and adult characters while simultaneously adding elements of Peter Straub and Stephen King into the mix. His invention of a supernaturally clouded locomotive, helmed by an evil shape shifting conductor is, also, certainly unique.

Unfortunately, while Moran definitely has talent, he lacks certain cohesive skills as an author, at this point in time. Much of the narrative here brims with awkwardness. This result is that, while he seems to know them well, his characters, ultimately, never truly come alive on the page. His ways of parlaying information about the town are odd, as well. Deep historical facts are planted in passages about both longtime residents and teen members of the community, giving off the vibe that everyone in this narrative is a historian, something which hardly seems possible.

While, Moran, nicely, tries to tackle issues of homophobia here, exploring the struggles of a bisexual police officer, this intent, also, falls a bit flat. It is not just the town’s hoods who use words like “fag” and “faggy”, but the narrative’s young hero, John, is often prone to use those terms, as well. This lessens the effect of Moran’s seeming point of ignorance, and, also, renders John’s toughened stance at the end of the novel a bit moot.

Still, Moran fares better as the novel gains steam and he creates some tense, nicely accomplished scenes of horror as he races towards the conclusion. It does seem odd that the death of one major character is kept almost entirely off the page during the interesting climax, especially considering the amount of attention that Moran pays to other details.

Thus, in the state it’s in now, Town & Train reads more like a noble failure than a truly successful excursion into social anthropology and fright. But, thankfully, there is enough of interest here to make one long to read a revised version of this tale. Moran, also, seems to be someone worth reading more of, whatever the project may be, once the kinks in his style are finally worked out.

Town & Train is published by Lethe Press, a publisher with a variety of very interesting queer genre books among their offerings. Dive into their impressive catalog at http://www.lethepressbooks.com.

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

http://www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

Music to Make Horror Movies By: Alice Cooper

Published February 15, 2015 by biggayhorrorfan

What am I gonna do?
alice
The esteemed Alice Cooper has definitely hit the horror hotline with albums like Welcome to My Nightmare and by singing He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask), the theme song to Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason’s Back.

But, this eclectic monster embraced the societal angst of many a terror freak, while dancing in the queer lined clouds of many a gay boy’s dreams, with his engaging Teenage Lament ’74 from Muscle of Love.

Featuring background vocals from such pink icons as Liza Minnelli, Labelle and Ronnie Spector, this number, focusing on those hellish years, is simply…heavenly.

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

http://www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

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